When John Gruden returned to the Raiders back in 2018, he was greeted with a hearty press conference, which owner Mark Davis called “a dream come true” and “the biggest day of his life.”
There was much less pomp and circumstance around the coach’s swift departure: Davis made a simple statement: “I accepted John Gruden’s resignation as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.”
While Gruden was done with the emails he sent years before he joined the Raiders, which the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times reported were filled with racist, homophobic, and misogynistic comments, his work in the field never lived up to what Davis had hoped for when he completed his decades-long quest for the coach of his dreams.
The Raiders had a 22-31 record in more than three seasons outside Gruden, ranking 22nd in win percentage, last in points allowed and 24th in scoring as his poor staffing actions ultimately sabotaged his coaching record. list.
The email leaks have also shamed an organization that prides itself on its history of inclusion, including its refusal to participate in the exhibition game in the segregated 1960s South; the hiring of a second coach of Mexican origin, Tom Flores; and the first black coach in the modern NFL at Art Shell.
This was not something Davis signed up for after yearning for Gruden since taking over the Raiders following the death of his father, Hall of Fame owner Al Davis, in 2011. Mark Davis made several trips to Tampa, Florida to meet with Gruden. over the years to get his opinion of the Raiders and to gauge his interest in leaving the broadcast booth and returning to the sideline.
He finally got the answer he wanted in 2017, which led Davis to sack Jack Del Rio, who led the Raiders to their only playoff spot in 18 seasons in 2016 and the only Raiders coach with a winning record since then. how Gruden was sold to Tampa Bay. after the 2001 season after the Raiders turned into a contender.
But Gruden’s second tenure never coincided with his first, when he was a shining guru on offense with the “Chucky” persona, who led the Raiders to an AFC title match in their third season and again to the playoffs the following year when they lost The Tuck Rule Game in New England.
After that season, Gruden was traded to Tampa Bay for a bunch of drafts and cash, and then defeated the Raiders in the Super Bowl in his first 2002 season.
But he has never won a single playoff game in his 10 seasons as a coach and has failed to turn the Raiders into an opponent in his second game.
Armed with a 10-year contract and full control of the staff, Gruden decided to overhaul the squad rather than overhauling it with the Raiders removed just a year from a 12-win season.
Before the start of his first season, he traded the team’s best player, Edge Rusher Khalil Mack, for a package that included two first-round draft picks. He then gave star successor Amari Cooper another first-round pick in mid-season when the Raiders hit a 4-12 record.
The ensuing offseason ultimately defined Gruden’s second tenure as he made the unfortunate push to fight in the final season of the Raiders in Oakland. He handed out large free-agent contracts to Trent Brown, Lamarcus Joyner, and Tyrell Williams, and of the three, there was little production work. His most striking move was a deal with the temperamental adoptive Antonio Brown, whose erratic behavior led to his release even before he even played the game.
Gruden also failed to pick three positions in the first round, which were expected to set the stage for the future of the franchise. The No. 4 overall ranking Clelene Ferrell has been relegated to the background this season, while the choice of No. 24 Josh Jacobs and No. 27 Jonathan Abram hasn’t had much of an impact yet.
This led to a 7-9 season in 2019 as Gruden failed to make it big for fans in Oakland who never stopped adoring him even after he left the first time.
There were several signs of progress in the first season in Las Vegas as quarterback Derek Carr took a big step in his third year with Gruden and the offense was one of the best in the league. But Gruden’s decision to hire Paul Gunther as defense coordinator, as well as bad free agency and draft moves, left the Raiders with one of the worst defenses in the NFL – and three out of place in the playoffs at 8-8.
This offseason, Gruden played without delay, trading three veteran attacking linemen to create a stance that helps strengthen the defenses under new coordinator Gus Bradley.
These decisions looked promising from a 3-0 start, but an unsuccessful attacking play resulted in double-digit losses in Gruden’s last two games. Now questions arise as to whether interim coach Rich Bisaccia will be able to get the team back on track.
If he succeeds, Gruden’s time with the Raiders won’t be in vain. If not, then he will be little different from the nine other coaches who led the team between Gruden’s tenures, when the Raiders were usually at the bottom of the league table every year. Although this workout ended even more ugly.